* DESIGNER OF
THE YEAR 2013

Harijanto Setiawan

Director
Boenga Pte Ltd

Harijanto Setiawan founded Boenga Pte Ltd in 2002. It is a floral design firm based in Singapore. An architect by training, Harijanto is an award winning floral designer. He holds a Master Degree in real estate from the University of New South Wales, Australia. His most recent achievement includes the Silver Gilt Medal at Chelsea Flower Show London in 2013. In 2012, he picked up Best Show and Gold Award at the Singapore Garden Festival as well as International Designer of the Year at Fusion Flowers London.

Harijanto has been working on changing the image of floral design. As the current president of the Floral Designers Society Singapore, his intention is to change the image and perception of floral design. For him, receiving the President’s Design Award is not just an acknowledgement of his personal contributions to the floristry industry, but a recognition of floral design as a contributing factor in upholding Singapore’s title as a Garden City. As a floral designer, he feels the need to go the extra mile to take care of the floristry industry. It will take time for the public to accept floral design as a design discipline.

With the growing affluence of Singaporeans, the level of appreciation for all forms of design, including floral design increases. For Harijanto, floral design should not be exclusive to a few, but available to everyone. It should be accessible to the community. He has seen all age groups, from youths to senior citizens, enjoying floral design.

For Harijanto, floral designers need to appreciate and understand nature in order to bring out its true value. Every carefully crafted floral design leaves behind a legacy of beauty and everlasting memory which is priceless. When viewers remember that moment, the design is successful. As a design material, flowers possess a unique aura that has the ability to transform any space. Understanding that quality gives the designer the tools to enhance the space and environment.

Harijanto constantly challenges his own designs. It is important for his design process to constantly refer to nature to learn and recall the intrinsic value of nature and question how to add value to it. His style is avant-garde, eccentric and funky. He likes the transparent quality of complementary materials such as acrylic and fishing lines. They give his designs a sense of movement through subtlety of lines implied by the transparent elements. He counts on his qualities of daring to think out of the box and not fearing failure.

He is involved actively in floristry education, in order to share his expertise as well as to inculcate appreciation for the discipline. He runs seminars on technical know-how and branding. He encourages his students to enjoy the process of creation and to appreciate the result. Knowledge sharing is important. Practitioners of the industry need to challenge each other in the spirit of sharing; as well as to help nurture young designers and encourage them to compete in the market.

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‘‘Young designers need to appreciate the value of their own design. More importantly, they should enjoy the experience and remain humble throughout their journey in designing. Design is subjective as it is a personal interpretation of beauty and purpose.’’

Insights from the Recipient

What does it mean to practise as a designer in Singapore?

It is to share our knowledge with our fellow designers and the public. This requires us, as designers, to be dedicated to improving and keep growing so that we become better designers who set the benchmark for the industry.

How has Singapore's design industry evolved over the past decade or, indeed, since you started practising?

It's improved tremendously. It’s improved not only because of the demand for better design, but also because there is a greater awareness of designers and a more educated appreciation for design and the arts.

What is the responsibility of a designer to the community or society?

It is to cultivate a culture of giving back and to help society grow to a stage where it's more appreciative of design. The only limitation we should impose on ourselves is to have no limitations.

Citation

‘‘Young designers need to appreciate the value of their own design. More importantly, they should enjoy the experience and remain humble throughout their journey in designing. Design is subjective as it is a personal interpretation of beauty and purpose.’’

Jury Citation

Harijanto Setiawan is an extraordinary design talent whose creations reside between the category of art, fashion and sculpture. His medium happens to be flowers.

His training as an architect allows him to approach floral design spatially with a structural spirit, while engaging the human body. His compositions are anthropomorphic installations that are experiences unto themselves. His creative use of form, space, colour, texture and light co-mingle with plants and people to produce truly unusual and unique encounters.

His vast portfolio of temporal installations, sets and composition use photography to skilfully capture the ephemeral and fantastical quality of living materials.

The Jury was particularly impressed with his ability to create other worlds; transform static still lifes into experiential statements; and his commitment to elevate the awareness of floral design and acknowledge it as a valid design discipline. His work is innovative, noteworthy and deserves to be acknowledged.

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Nominator Citation

MILDRED TAN
MANAGING DIRECTOR
ERNST & YOUNG ADVISORY PTE LTD

Harijanto Setiawan is not just any ordinary florist. He is one of the most multi-talented floral designers who is able to creatively contrast complex architectural pieces with Technicolor lighting, common curb-side flowers or unique wildflowers from different regions, to create thematic set designs. His conceptualization skill enables him to create innovative displays with the “wow” factor time and time again. He is indeed a rare individual. Every single encounter with Harijanto’s pieces is an experience unto itself and you think you’ve seen the best of him until you see his next piece of work.

Harijanto created an amazing floral design depicting the streets of London in a church for the wedding service for my son and daughter-in-law. In the evening, he transformed Shangri-La’s Island Ballroom into the Greek island of Santorini using local flowers and plants from the Mediterranean. Indeed many guests including overseas friends and relatives were bowled over and were in awe not just by the corsages, bouquets and elegant table floral centerpieces, but also by the tree-lined aisles to the 3D set displays which showed off his extraordinary skills.

It is no wonder that Harijanto has won the Gold Award and Best Show at Singapore Garden Festival 2012, voted Best Florist 2008–2012 by Singapore Tatler and International Designer 2012 by Fusion Flowers London. The President’s Design Award is definitely another accolade that should be awarded to this multi-talented floral designer.

OTHER RECIPIENTS

Hans Tan

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR 2018

Founder, Hans Tan Studio; and Assistant Professor, Division of Industrial Design,
National University of Singapore
Hans Tan Studio

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